One in every ten babies is born premature. A more worrying statistics is that Nigeria ranked the highest in cases of preterm births after India and China. To think those two nations are well over five times our population size makes the state of things scary. Really scary.
Preventing all preterm birth is almost impossible. In Nigeria there are more than a 100,000 preterm cases per year. Globally, one in every ten babies is born premature. A premature baby is born mostly under 37weeks of pregnancy when the developing organs aren’t mature enough to allow for normal postnatal survival.
What are the causes of premature birth?
It’s impossible to vaguely state why babies are born preterm but there are known risk factors which account for about half preterm deliveries. If one could put these factors into careful consideration there would be a significant reduction in odds of having a premature birth. These factors include:
1. Women who previously have had a preterm birth.
2. Pregnancy with twins, triplets and other multiples.
3. Women who take in six weeks or less after a previous birth.
4. Young mothers especially teens and women over 40.
5. Pregnant women performing hard labor or being in trauma, exposed to physical or emotional stress.
6. Underweight/overweight at conception, or failing to gain up to 20 pounds during the pregnancy.
7. Poor nutrition and feeding habits.
8. Abuse of substance, use of drugs, smoking, during pregnancy.
9. Conceiving through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
10. Multiple miscarriages or abortion.
11. Health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
12. Problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta.
14. Possibly hereditary.
Premature birth can happen to anyone. In most cases, there are no known causes of premature births.